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A Trilogy: Chan Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism

This is a discussion on A Trilogy: Chan Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism within the Religion and Ethics forums, part of the US Discussion category; A well known Chinese proverb states that every Chinese wears a Confucian hat, a Taoist robe, and Buddhist sandals. In fact the three traditions are ...


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Old 10-08-2012, 02:41 PM
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A Trilogy: Chan Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism

A well known Chinese proverb states that every Chinese wears a Confucian hat, a Taoist robe, and Buddhist sandals. In fact the three traditions are not regarded as mutually exclusive but rather as complementary. Scholars of comparative religion recognize this today by often grouping the three together, adding a good dose of folklore, and calling it "traditional Chinese religion". I think this tends to make it sound too exceptional, as many non-Chinese have found this mixture and its components appealing. Altogether, under one title or another, this system of religion and philosophy probably has a bit over one billion adherents, making it both a major religion in terms of numbers as well as one of the religious traditions that emerged 25 to 30 centuries ago.

As a result of my answers in a couple of other threads I have gotten some inquiries about these beliefs. My own faith community is a part of the larger Taoist community. I cannot pretend to speak for all Taoist schools and even less for all schools of Confucian and Buddhist thought. Ultimately I can only speak for myself and what I have been taught.

It is not my intention to proselytize or debate anyone. If you adhere to a revealed or other religion, I wish you well. Take from our body of belief and practice anything you find useful and ignore the rest. It's not a package deal. We make no attempt to recruit anyone to anything and have no interest in challenging anyone's faith. That's a job you have to do on your own.

So if you have questions, let me know.
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